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Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

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My parents have been very concerned about my eating lately. They tell me that I’m not eating enough and I’m losing weight too fast and exercising. I know that I don’t eat as much as my family, but they are all overweight. I generally eat under 500 calories a day, and walk 3-10 miles, enough to burn at least all that I ate. I don’t throw up often, and I make sure I get my medicine in after I have purged if I do so. My parents and psychiatrist are not aware of my purging behaviors. I don’t see anything wrong with them, so there is no reason to worry them. But to ease their worries, I decided to ask here. If nothing is wrong, I can show them.

Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

Answered by on -


The people who love and care about you are concerned because they can see the pattern of your behavior that you may not be able to see right now.

What I can tell you is that if a young 15 or 16 year old young woman came into my office for a consultation and told me what you so bravely explained here, I would know three things: The first is that there is a pattern of behavior that orbits around gaining weight; secondly that the exercise burns what was consumed, which means there are calories being lost every day. (The normal processes of living and breathing and walking and talking, etc. use calories and if daily activities and exercise burn what was consumed there will be a systematic ongoing weight loss.) Finally a person who purges, keeps it a secret and thinks it is okay shows a contradiction in their behavior. If it really is okay—why not tell those who love you? Why keep the secret?

These things would prompt me to ask the young woman to talk to the psychiatrist and parents about the purging and to get a nutritional consult.

I believe these actions would be the right course of action for you to take at this time. By the way, I notice that you close your letter by saying that if there is nothing wrong you would show your parents and psychiatrist. I hope you can you show them what I have written here.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Do I Have an Eating Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 30 Aug 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.